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‘Golden opportunity’: Government scheme to give former young prisoners jobs on major infrastructure projects 

A new State Government scheme is giving young offenders jobs on major transport and infrastructure projects, including the Metro Tunnel.

The trial of the ‘Out of Good’ program will provide work for 50 first-time criminals aged between 17 and 26.

Minister for Crime Prevention, Ben Carroll, said the $300,000 project will help reduce re-offending rates.

“We need programs that will not just cut re-offending in the short term, but will actually change the trajectory of the life course of some of these young people, and we do need to do things differently,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“We know that the two best protective factors to keep people out of the criminal justice system are a job, followed by a stable home.”

Currently, more than half of first-time offenders aged 17 to 26 go on to re-offend.

Only youth who have served less than 12 months for their offending will be eligible for the program, but there are fears violent offenders may be included.

Mr Carroll said young offenders charged with assault may take part in the program, but those who have committed aggravated burglaries will not be eligible.

He said those who go into the program will be chosen carefully.

Those chosen to participate must have served their sentence, participated in behavioural change programs and VCAL or TAFE courses, and undergone a youth justice risk assessment.

Mr Carroll said the private contractor who the young person will work for must “believe this is the person that is ready to turn their life around and take this golden opportunity”.

The government hopes the first ten young offenders will be processed by the end of October.

The private contractor companies will be provided with assistance from youth support organisations.

“They are doing the tunnelling work, but they’ve also got a case manager through one of our service providers, Mr Carroll said.

“Many of the young people who we want to work with the construction companies, to be frank, they often have never had a job or even had a male role model.”

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Image (at top): Bloomberg